LEGAL NEWS 29.12.2011

IOA to set up Ethics Committee and Arbitration Commission

PTI | Dec 27, 2011, 05.21PM IST
NEW DELHI: A day after IOA secretary general Randhir Singh warned of serious repercussions on disbanding of some important committees, the apex sports body on Tuesday said it will soon set up the Ethics Committee and Arbitration Commission.

The Indian Olympic Association, in its General Body Meeting on December 15, had disbanded Ethics Committee and Arbitration Commission, but apparently after Randhir Singh’s sharp criticism, the IOA said these committees will be formed again as per the unanimous decision of the GBM.

“No member was against Ethics or Arbitration Commission. All the GBM wanted was that it should be taken into confidence while taking such important decision,” IOA vice-president Tarlochan Singh said.

Randhir on Monday criticised the disbanding of the Arbitration Commission and Ethics Committee, saying it may attract International Olympic Committee’s ire and will bring bad name to the country, already sullied by the Commonwealth Games corruption scandal.

Tarlochan said the GBM had authorised the acting IOA president Vijay Kumar Malhotra to form various committees and commissions as per the IOC charter.

“There is no question of IOA defying or ignoring the IOC or its charter. The very fact GBM unanimously vested all powers with Prof Malhotra to take crucial decisions show that members were keen to set the house in order,” Tarlochan said.

“IOA is fully aware of its responsibilities. The president is aware of the seriousness of this issue and will constitute these committees at the earliest,” he said.

Tarlochan said a “canard” has been being spread that IOA does not want these commissions.

“We are all in favour of having such commissions but with the approval of General Body. IOA is a democratic institution and has to function under its constitution. All major decisions need the approval of the house,” he said.

“What happened on December 15 GBM was that it did not ratify formation of some of the committees which were formed without its approval. There is nothing illegal or unconstitutional about it,” he added.

Elaborating on the issue, Tarlochan said that GBM in fact did not approve certain new clauses which were inserted in the Constitution and requested the president to form a sub committee to review that matter.

He said after Ranchi National Games (in February), it was the first GBM and so the members wanted that all the decisions taken in between should be reviewed because they did not have the approval of the General Body.

Election Commission upset with Khurshid’s remarks: Sources

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: December 28, 2011 12:21 IST
New Delhi:  A war of wards seems to be brewing between the Election Commission (EC) and Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid following the latter’s recent comments over the poll panel.

Mr Khurshid had, in an interview to NDTV, said that the government did exercise some amount of administrative control over the EC and cited the example of the Law Ministry signing the file when an election commissioner travelled abroad. The minister was speaking in the context of the opposition as also veteran anti-graft activist Anna Hazare’s reservation over the Centre holding on to the reins of control over the Central Bureau of Investigation as per the new Lokpal Bill that has been cleared in the Lok Sabha.

The poll panel clearly does not have taken too kindly to Mr Khurshid’s statement. Sources in the EC have told NDTV that the comments are the wishful thinking of the minister.

“If the Law Ministry thinks it can control the Commission through foreign tours, it is sadly mistaken,” sources in the EC have said, further adding, “Law Ministry serves just like a post-office…only the President approves EC foreign tours.”

Sources also said that the commission has been demanding that its budget should be from the Consolidated Fund of India but it hasn’t been done yet, adding that the Parliament votes for the poll panel’s budget.

Lokpal Bill: UPA wins one, loses one

Posted: Dec 28, 2011 at 0209 hrs IST
New Delhi If this was history in the making, it was messy and half-baked. After almost 12 hours of spirited debate in the Lok Sabha in which the entire spectrum of political opinion for and against the Lokpal Bill was heard loud and clear, the UPA accepted some key amendments proposed by rival parties to get The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011, passed through a voice vote.

But sloppy floor management coupled with a lame attempt by the Congress to turn the tables on the BJP — for not falling in line — ensured that the Constitution (116th Amendment) Bill to give the Lokpal Constitutional status, a proposal first made by Rahul Gandhi in August, fell through.
Passed in the Lok Sabha, there is now a question mark over the Lokpal Bill itself as it moves to the Rajya Sabha tomorrow where the UPA has less than 100 members in the 245-member House.
Amendments carried out to the Lokpal Bill today call for prior consent of states for Lokayuktas — a response to the near unanimous Opposition demand to maintain the federal structure — and leaves armed forces and the Coast Guard out of its purview. Other changes include changing the requirement of three-fourth of Lokpal members to approve an enquiry against the Prime Minister to two-third.
All the Opposition amendments, including the ones that sought to bring in corporates and media and remove minority reservations were rejected.
Disappointment was writ large on the Treasury Benches when Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj raised the issue that the voting on the clauses of the Constitution Bill did not have the required special majority. A Constitution Amendment Bill to be passed should have more than 50 per cent of the members of the House and at least two-third of the strength present.
But the maximum tally that the ruling alliance could manage was 251 from 430 members present at the time of voting on Clause 2 of the Constitutional Amendment Bill. Similarly, the Lok Sabha rejected Clauses 1 and 3 making the Constitution Bill infructuous for passage.
A total of 46 Lok Sabha members from parties supporting the UPA from outside — Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) — staged a walkout over the Lokpal Bill and the government managers did not bother to get them back for the discussion on the Constitutional Amendment Bill. In contrast, the opposition Left-parties, AIADMK and the BJD staged a walkout over the Lokpal Bill but returned to vote against the government on the Constitutional Amendment Bill.
Voting on the three clauses showed that the ruling side had failed to get the required number of 273 in favour, prompting Speaker Meira Kumar to drop the clauses from the bill. “Since the clauses have not been incorporated, the motion for adoption of the bill becomes infructuous,” the Speaker said.
This after the UPA’s numbers got a boost to a total of 277 in the 543-member Lok Sabha after the induction of RLD leader Ajit Singh into the Cabinet who has brought five Lok Sabha MPs with him.
An angry Pranab Mukherjee, after an impassioned defence of the government’s stand, called the development as “a sad day for democracy” and blamed the Opposition, especially the BJP, for the fiasco saying “people will teach you a lesson”.
BJP’s Yashwant Sinha, however, dismissed this saying it was the Government’s job to get the Bill through and the fact that it never crossed 272 means it was in a minority and should, therefore, step down.
The House also passed the Protection to Persons Making Disclosures Bill, 2011 aimed at protecting whistle-blowers.
While SP and BSP members walked out before voting, the non-NDA opposition, including the Left parties, BJD and AIADMK, made a brief walkout after the passage of the bill before returning to the House for participating on the Constitution Amendment Bill.
During the animated over 10-hour debate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rejected demands for bringing CBI under the purview of Lokpal as he warned that no entity should be created inconsistent with the Constitutional framework.
This is the ninth Lokpal Bill introduced in government in a series that started as early as 1968 and ended in 2001.
Seven of them lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha while one was withdrawn.
“There are some very special moments in the life of a nation. This is one such moment. The nation awaits with bated breath how the collective wisdom of this House will be reflected in the vote at the end of the debate on the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011,” Singh said.
He warned that “no entity should be created inconsistent with our Constitutional framework and charged with onerous executive responsibilities without any accountability… Let us not create something that will destroy all that we cherish…all in the name of combating corruption. Let us remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Whats new at BBMP? A Rs223 crore scam

Published: Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011, 17:53 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
While CID investigations are still going on pertaining to the multi-crore bogus bill scam in Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), yet another scam has unfolded involving misappropriation of Central Reserve Funds (CRF) worth Rs223 crore. This was brought to light by RTI activist S Amaresh.
At a press meet on Monday, Amaresh, managing trustee of the Right to Information Study Centre, alleged that several irregularities took place between March 2006 and November 2011.
Amaresh said that the CRF was primarily used for ward-level and emergency works.
“In 2006, 2007, 2010, and 2011, a sum of Rs174 crore was allocated for CRF in the BBMP budget. But the BBMP utilised Rs397.48 crore instead ofRs223.38 crore. This sum exceeded the funds that were allocated. The details were procured from the RTI,” he said.
Amaresh said that the BBMP commissioners, who held the post for five years, were aware of it. “Contractors, zonal executive engineers, elected representatives, chief accounts officers, and deputy controller of finance are directly involved in the irregularities along with the commissioners. The excess funds were released because of pressure from contractors, elected representatives, and engineers,” he said.
He added that excess funds were released without the government’s consent.
When asked for details via the RTI Act, the BBMP refused to divulge information, Amaresh said.
Centre trustee BH Veeresh said that the BBMP must restore the vigilance squad, which was disbanded. The public can file their complaints with the squad.
“We are planning to file a writ petition in the high court pertaining to the Rs223 crore scam. We want the government to conduct an enquiry of the five commissioners: K Jothiramalingam, K Jairaj, S Subramanya, Bharatlal Meena, and Siddaiah,” he said. N Vikram Simha, a trustee, said that on various occasions the Karnataka Information Commission (KIC) commissioner had favoured corrupt officials.
“We will give a memorandum to governor HR Bhardwaj to conduct thorough investigation and ask the commissioners to declare their assets and liabilities on the KIC website,” he said.

Man gets jail for bribery

TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 03.12AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has sentenced a person to two-and-a-half-year in jail and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 for demanding a bribe of Rs 300.
Demanding a bribe of Rs 300 has cost a man dearly with a trial court sentencing him to two-and-half years in jail and also slapping a fine, which is over 30 times the illegal gratification amount.
Special judge B R Kedia convicted Dhirender Verma, a section officer in horticulture division of DDA and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 for demanding a bribe 5 years ago.
In August 2006, Dalip Kumar lodged a complaint with the anti-corruption branch against Dhirender for demanding a bribe for allowing him to reside in a pump house at a DDA park in Mayur Vihar phase II.
Kumar told the court that he, along with his family, was residing in the pump house as an officer of horticulture department had allowed him to stay there. However, after the officer retired, Dhirender demanded Rs 200 for letting him reside there, which he paid.
Thereafter, Dhirender again demanded Rs 300 from him, which he agreed to pay the next day. However, before doing so he filed a complaint with the authorities concerned.
A trap was laid and Dhirender was nabbed red-handed.
“Accused Dhirender Verma stands convicted for offence punishable under section 7 (public servant taking illegal gratification) and 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act,” the court said.
The court, however, accepted his plea for suspension of sentence and granted him bail till January 6, 2012.

HC adjourns PIL against Anna Hazare’s fast

PTI | Dec 28, 2011, 04.33AM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday posted the hearing on a PIL, seeking social activist Anna Hazare’s fast to be declared as “illegal” till Wednesday, saying agitation is the right of every citizen and the persons staging a protest are well aware of the consequences of breaking the law.

“Agitation is the right of every citizen,” a vacation bench of Justices Girish Godbole and M L Tahalayani observed while hearing the PIL filed by a social worker Mangleshwar Tripathi, seeking the fast being observed by the 74-year-old Gandhian be declared as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Law to curb money laundering to go global

Special Correspondent

Amendment to provide for transfer of proceeds of foreign predicate offence

The government tabled the Prevention of Money-Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2011, in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. It seeks to introduce the concept of a ‘corresponding law’ to link the provisions of Indian law to those of other countries and to provide for transfer of the proceeds of foreign predicate offence committed in any manner in India.
The Bill enlarges the definition of money-laundering to include concealment, acquisition, possession and use of proceeds of crime as criminal activities and to remove the existing limit of Rs. 5 lakh in fine.

Reporting entities

The Bill provides for attachment and confiscation of the proceeds of crime even if there is no conviction so long as it is proved that money-laundering has taken place and the property in question is involved in the crime. It confers powers on the director of reporting entities, such as banks, financial institutions and intermediaries, to call for records of transactions or any additional information that may be required for prevention of the crime and to make enquiries for non-compliance with reporting obligations.
The Bill proposes to make the reporting entities and their designated directors on the board and employees responsible for acts of commission and omission. The reporting entities need to maintain a record of all transactions, including information for reconstructing individual transactions. These entities will maintain records of documents in proof of the identity of their clients and beneficial owners as well as account files and business correspondence.
The amendment is necessitated by the fact that India is an important member of the Financial Action Task Force, and chairs its Asia Pacific group. So it is important to make the existing Prevention of Money Laundering Act conform to the practices being followed worldwide.
The PMLA, 2002, was aimed at preventing money laundering and confiscating property derived from, or involved in, the crime. It was amended in 2005 and 2009 to remove the difficulties in its implementation.
The government said money laundering was no longer restricted to the geo-political boundaries. “It is a global menace that cannot be contained by any nation alone,” the Bill says.
The Bill also provides for appeal against the orders of the Appellate Tribunal in the Supreme Court, instead of in the High Court as mandated by the existing laws. A person aggrieved by the Tribunal’s decision or order may file an appeal within 60 days of the date of communication of the order. The court may allow the appeal to be filed within a further period not exceeding 60 days, if it is satisfied that the applicant has been prevented by sufficient cause from appealing within the stipulated period.
Lokpal law clears its first hurdle
New Delhi/ Mumbai: The country moved a step closer on Tuesday to getting a new anti-corrpution law after the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) blinked and accepted key amendments to the legislation, clearing the way for its passage in the Lok Sabha.

Now, the legislation—the Lokpal and the Lokayuktas Bill, 2011—will have to be approved by the Rajya Sabha—where the ruling coalition is in a minority. Expectations are that the legislation would be struck down or require fresh amendments, which will need a joint session of both Houses to forge a consensus.
In the Lok Sabha, a walkout by the Samajwadi Party​ and Bahujan Samaj Party​ enabled the UPA to manage the voice vote on most of the amendments and also when the opposition forced a division which required members to vote.
The UPA may get a political breather after a protest led by anti-graft activist Anna Hazare in Mumbai to pressurise Parliament to pass a strong anti-corruption legislation failed to strike a chord with the public, unlike the two hunger strikes he undertook in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar and Ramlila Maidan venues. As Hazare began a three-day fast in the city, only around 8,000 people trooped to the venue.
One of the key amendments ensures that states’ consent will be required for setting up a Lokayukta. And it further insulates the Prime Minister​ from being subjected to misuse of the Lokpal provisions by requiring a two-thirds approval vote in the Lokpal panel for initiating an inquiry against him.

The debate in Lok Sabha was largely along predictable lines, excepting that two key partners of the UPA—Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)—were critical of the draft Lokpal Bill that was tabled in Parliament. While the opposition parties attacked the government for what they maintained was a hasty effort, the treasury benches defended the legislation.

Leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj​, set the tone for the debate when she questioned the constitutional validity of “religion-based reservation”. She further alleged that by moving the legislation for the creation of Lokpal and Lokayukta under Article 253 of the constitution, the UPA was infringing on the federal freedom of states.
Article 253 would make it mandatory for states to accept the legislation as approved by Parliament due to the country’s international commitments. Instead, Swaraj argued that it should be moved under Article 252 of the constitution, which requires two states to pass a resolution asking Parliament to pass such a law.
“We wanted this Bill in the winter session but did not want such a Bill which will even destroy the existing system. We wanted a strong and effective legislation,” Swaraj said, adding: “Accept our amendments or withdraw the Bill.. Send it back to the standing committee for further discussion and bring it after 2-3 months.”
Swaraj also objected to the process of appointment and removal of the anti-corruption ombudsman and demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation​ (CBI) be brought under the purview of the Lokpal.
Swaraj termed the inclusion of the Prime Minister under the Lokpal—with riders—a “farce”. She even questioned the provision for in-camera proceedings and disallowing making public these proceedings even through the Right to Information Act.
Making the government’s case, human resource development minister Kapil Sibal​ sought to put the political onus on the opposition. According to him, the opposition was engaging in double speak: claiming to support the anti-corruption legislation, but aborting its chances through obstructionist tactics.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh intervened midway through the nearly 10-hour debate in the Lok Sabha and appealed for a political consensus to fight the “cancer of corruption”.
“Unless Lokayuktas are put in place, the cancer of corruption will spread. Let us not delay the issue any further. Federalism cannot be an impediment in the war against corruption,” Singh said, before adding, “State authorities are charged with providing essential services to the common man. It is here that the bane of corruption needs to be combated.”
In a veiled reference to Hazare, he said, “The task of legislation is very serious business and must eventually be performed by all of us who have been constitutionally assigned this duty. Others can persuade and have their voices heard. But the decision must rest with us.”
TMC representatives who spoke after Singh took exception to the Prime Minister’s remarks.
“Don’t undermine the state legislature, don’t undermine the ministers of the state,” Kalyan Banerjee, TMC member of Parliament (MP), said. “Don’t enter into the field of the state legislature, it would be a dangerous proposition.”

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha also joined issue with Singh and claimed tongue-in-cheek that the prime minister’s intervention was a “farewell speech”.

“A morally bankrupt government has brought not a Lokpal bill but a Brokerpal Bill…The government will say to people in poll-bound states that they had brought the Bill, but Parliament did not pass it…We doubt their intentions. We doubt that they (government) themselves do not want to pass the Bill. They have included such irrelevant issues that the Bill will fall flat in the court,” he said.
Similarly, the Left parties too criticized the Bill in its current form.
“I welcome a Lokpal Bill but not the one that has been introduced,” said Gurudas Dasgupta, a leader of the Communist Party of India​ (CPI). “If you say that something is better than nothing, then of course it is good…but (it is) not everything that the country needs,” He also questioned whether the Bill had been introduced under duress.
Basudeb Acharia, of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM, said the government’s intention was to create an institution that is not accountable to anyone.
“We don’t want such an institution. That is why we raised in the all-party meeting that Lokpal should be accountable. They should be accountable to Parliament and the Supreme Court,” Acharia said.
Harsimran Kaur, MP from Shiromani Akali Dal, said the Bill was “toothless”. She alleged that the UPA was hurrying the legislation through with the sole purpose of mitigating the political damage ensuing from Hazare’s campaign and to posture ahead of the upcoming polls in five states.
Lalu Prasad​, leader of the Rashtriya Janta Dal, which supports the UPA from outside, rejected the Lokpal Bill and asked the government to introduce a fresh and strong Bill.
“This also brings armed forces, Intelligence Bureau and Research and Analysis Wing under Lokpal. They should not be covered and (should) remain outside Lokpal,” he said.
In Mumbai, meanwhile, observers attributed the lukewarm public response to Anna Hazare’s fast to his team’s inability to mobilize support from local political parties, the strong north Indian community in the city and the Dalits.

Gaining momentum: Anna Hazare’s supporters gather at the fast venue in Mumbai on Tuesday.(Reuters)
Hazare’s first two agitations in Delhi for a strong ‘Jan Lokpal Bill’ received massive public support, so Mumbai had been expectant about the response he would receive in the city. The grounds where he sat on fast can accommodate around 60,000 people, but according to Mumbai police, there were only around 8,000 in attendance.

“The government has reneged on its commitment of a strong Lokpal Bill to Parliament given in August and this is nothing but cheating,” Hazare told the crowd. “We have to teach a lesson to Congress for not keeping its promise. I will tour all five poll-bound states and appeal to the people not to vote for the Congress.”
He also reiterated his demand for electoral reforms and giving people the right to reject all candidates in the fray if they wished to do so.
“There are around 150 MPs in the Lok Sabha with a criminal record today and the only way to ensure that such elements do not enter Parliament is to give people the ‘Right to Reject’.” He also announced a plan to launch an agitation in support of the demand that without village councils’ approval, no land acquisition for industry and infrastructure projects should take place.
“Anna’s agitation did not get much support in Mumbai as the Shiv Sena, which provides muscle to any agitation in Mumbai, is opposed to the Lokpal Bill,” said Prakash Akolkar, political editor of the Marathi daily Sakal. “North Indians, another highly politically aware group in the city, also stayed away from the agitation as their leaders like Kripa Shankar Singh and Raj Hans Singh belong to the Congress, who are obviously anti-Anna; and another politically important group comprises Dalits and Dalit organisations who are also opposed to the Lokpal as they feel it is an attempt to change the Constitution given to us by Dalit icon Babasaheb Ambedkar​.”
In a separate development, the Election Commission of India issued a press release clarifying on some media reports that the EC was “watching the moves” of Anna Hazare and his team’s campaign in the five poll-bound states.
“The Commission has already clarified repeatedly that everyone has a right to canvass for or against any political party or candidate, as it fully respects the freedom of expression of every Indian citizen guaranteed to them under the Constitution of India. The Commission’s concern is, however, limited to the extent that in such campaigns no inflammatory speeches or slogans are raised…” the EC said in a statement.

Seven get life in jail for murdering woman, son

PTI | 10:12 PM,Dec 27,2011

Vadodara, Dec 27 (PTI) Seven accused in a double murder case were awarded life imprisonment by a court here today. They were found guilty of killing a woman, whom they suspected of practising witchcraft, and her son in village Bhangiyavad near here on May 14, 2010, by Additional District Sessions Judge K S Patel. Radhaben and her son were beaten to death by the accused, who were armed with sticks and held the woman responsible for the death of two persons in the village. Their bodies were later hanged to a tree. Public Prosecutor Prakash Thakkar had demanded capital punishment for all of them. However, the court said this case does not fall under the category of rarest of the rare and awarded life sentence to the convicts.

Habitual molester sent to jail for a year

Soumittra S Bose, TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 02.30AM IST
NAGPUR: The district and additional sessions judge has sentenced a 48-year-old man to one-year imprisonment and fine of Rs 500 on Tuesday for attempted rape and outraging the modesty of a woman. The court convicted Lekhraj Nimje, alias Lakku, after he was found guilty of molesting a widow from Golibar chowk.
Nimje has already served a prison term for a different offence. He is learnt to be a habitual assaulter of women, making lewd remarks and indecent proposals to even schoolgirls.
His latest conviction came about due to a handful of women coming together in different roles. It was female judge Vibha Ingle who pronounced the judgment after the prosecution, represented by additional public prosecutor Varsha Aglawe, provided adequate evidence to indict the accused. The testimony of five female witnesses, who had also rescued the victim from almost certain rape, helped the court to convict Nimje.
The women, braving Nimje’s counter attack and acid threats, had shooed him away before police arrested him on December 23 last year. TOI had highlighted the strong, joint stand taken by women of Golibar chowk against Nimje and his ways.
Nimje had been targeting Supriya (name changed) even when her husband was alive. He would often stand in front of her house and make indecent gestures. During the attack, Nimje had held Supriya by the hand and pinned her to the floor. While she tried to free herself, Nimje had nearly disrobed her. Annoyed at her refusal, Nimje had even threatened to splash acid on Supriya.
It was during this struggle that women from adjacent houses rushed to rescue Supriya. Police were informed and Nimje was arrested. Tehsil police had charged Nimje with attempt to rape and molestation.
“The court did not convict Nimje for rape, since there was no medical evidence. But it was a strong case of outraging the modesty,” said additional PP Aglawe.

Triple life term for 3 accused

KOCHI: The Ernakulam Fifth Additional Sessions Court on Monday awarded triple life term and a fine of Rs 1.3 lakh each to the three accused in the murder of 60-year-old John Kuzhikkandam of Kothamangalam. Delivering the sentence, Sessions Judge V Vijaya Kumar said the sentences shall run concurrently. The convicts were sent to the Viyyur Central Prison.

The court held that based on the ‘Swami Sradhananda case’ the accused were not entitled to claim or get remission of sentence before serving at least 20 years of imprisonment. The convicts are Basil Kuriakose of Kuttambuzha, Rajesh of Eramallor and Jacob Esthappanos alias Kunjumon.
The court awarded life imprisonment under Section 302 (murder), 449 (house-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and an additional five year rigorous imprisonment under Section 392 (robbery) of the IPC. The court further held that the fine amount would be given to John’s wife and children equally as compensation.
The case is that on January 1,2004 a money lender John Kuzhikkandam of Kothamangalam was strangulated by the three accused. The postmortem report revealed that John died in the combined effect of strangulation and abdominal injuries. The accused left the body of John under a cot in the house. They stole his camera, mobile phone, wrist watch and scooter. Prosecutor P G Manu submitted that the accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy for robbery by killing John. He argued that the murder was preplanned and brutal and comes under the category of ‘rarest of rare’ cases.
The court held that the prosecution succeeded in proving the crime beyond doubts.

Court awards 68L to kin of 4 killed by DTC bus

TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 06.43AM IST
NEW DELHI: A trial court has awarded a compensation of around Rs 68 lakh to the family members of four persons, who died in a road accident caused by a rashly driven Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus five years ago.

Additional Sessions Judge Raj Kumar Chauhan directed the National Insurance Company, with which the offending DTC bus was insured, to pay a total of Rs 67.94 lakh to the family members of deceased Praveen Kumar, Dharampal, Rakesh Kumar and Rajan Singh, who lost their lives in 2006 when the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus collided with their car.

“I am of the considered opinion that petitioners (family members of deceased ) have succeeded in proving that the accident has occurred because of rash and negligent driving of DTC bus driver as a result all the occupants of the car has expired,” the judge said.

While deciding the compensation amount, the court said that loss of love, affection and company because of the death of the husband, father and son of the petitioners is immense and the same cannot be compensated for in terms of money.

According to the prosecution , all the four victims were working in the same firm, AIR Grip Footwear Pvt Ltd, and were going for a business meeting.

The accident took place on July 9, 2006 near Rohtak road when the offending bus had suddenly taken a right turn without any indication and after jumping the red traffic signal, ended up hitting the car.

The driver was caught by a passerby and was handed over to the police. The court, after taking into consideration of the age and background of different victims, awarded different amount of compensation to them. It awarded Rs 37,56,000, Rs 12,91,400, Rs 11,43,488 and Rs 6,03,350 to the family members of Praveen Kumar, Dharampal , Rajan Singh and Rakesh Kumar respectively.

CBI wants ‘tainted’ Paradip Port chairman transferred

Tuesday, 27 December 2011 22:27
PNS | New Delhi

The CI has sought transfer of Paradip Port Trust chairman to a non-sensitive position as the agency feels that he might influence witnesses in a criminal case he is facing.
Instead of transferring the official, the Shipping Ministry is learnt to have told the agency that the accused chairman GJ Rao is too senior an official to be posted at a “non-sensitive” position in the Ministry.
The agency has booked Rao along with two other senior officials for allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy in 2009 when he was the Deputy Chairman at Chennai Port Trust (CPT).
The incident under investigation dates backs to April 2007 when a ship carrying teak logs of Singapore-based Olam International Ltd was allowed to dock at Chennai, official sources said.
The CBI had alleged that the then CPT chairman K Suresh along with Rao and one other official abused their positions and registered cases under Sections of Indian Penal Code relating to criminal conspiracy and cheating besides relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act

Trio gets 1-month jail for robbery

TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 04.17AM ISTPANAJI:
 A judicial magistrate first class ( JMFC) court at Mapusa recently sentenced three accused to undergo one-month imprisonment and directed them to pay a fine of 10,000 for snatching a gold chain at Mapusa in 2003.
The prosecution had charged Imamsab Kudchikar, Mainuddin Hukkari, Tassaduk Pathan for wrongfully restraining Shittija Dhargalkar and snatching her gold chain weighing 10gm on July 30, 2003, at Ansabhat-Mapusa.
During the hearing of the case, the victim deposed before the court and narrated the incident. She said that one of the accused was caught by the public after she cried out for help.
“Thus, upon scrutinizing the evidence on record, it is evident that on July 30, 2003, while the complainant was returning from Mapusa market and upon reaching her house, all the three accused wrongfully restrained her from the front, and one of the accused caught hold of her, pushed her down and snatched away her gold chain weighing 10gm,” judge Durga V Madkaikar observed.
The complainant identified all the three accused in an identification parade, the arrest panchanama corroborates the testimony of the prosecution witnesses and the recovery panchanama was also proved, the court stated.
The court convicted the accused under Section 392 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code ( IPC) and directed each of them undergo one month of simple imprisonment and pay a fine of 10,000 each.
If the fine amount is not paid, each of the accused will have to undergo imprisonment for a period of 15 days. Assistant public prosecutor N Marathe appeared for the state.

B-town is legally bound

TNN Dec 27, 2011, 04.57PM IST
Not A Love Story: Producer Shareef Zuberi filed a suit in Mumbai seeking to restrain director Ram Gopal Varma from releasing the film as he claimed he had already registered the script with the Film Writers Association, and that RGV had copied his idea. Shareef also claimed that his film was 70% complete and that he had already spent `70 lakh on the project.
Azaan: This movie courted controversy when a Samajwadi party leader filed a case in the Mumbai High Court stating that the film’s title hurt Muslim sentiments. A fatwa was also reportedly put on the film by a Muslim cleric who contested that no film should be named after the auspicious call of prayer. The petitioners demanded a ban on the film until the producer changed its name. However, the makers went ahead with the title.

Aarakshan: The Amitabh Bachchan and Saif Ali Khan starrer got into a legal tangle when co-producer Firoz Nadiadwala was sued by Sushil Gupta over payment issues. Firoz had reportedly borrowed `3.50 crore from Sushil and had to repay `3.75 crore, including interest on the loan.
Mausam: Pankaj Kapur’s friend Nawman Malik claimed that the title of Pankaj’s debut directorial, “Mausam”, was registered under Nawman’s name. Nawman also reportedly filed a complaint with the Association of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers, alleging that the story was his.
RA.One: Shah Rukh Khan’s much hyped superhero film was dogged by legal hassles when producer Yash Patnaik and writer Mustaq Sheilk got into a row with SRK over copyright issues. Yash moved the court, claiming he owned the copyright of the content and demanded `1 crore as compensation.
Rockstar: One of Bollywood’s most awaited movies of 2011 grabbed headlines when the producers alleged that the distributors hadn’t paid their share towards the film’s budget and reportedly sent them a legal notice to that effect.
The Dirty Picture: Silk Smitha’s brother Naga Vara Prasad filed a writ petition at the AP High Court, objecting to the way Silk was portrayed in the film. Bollywood star Vidya Balan also got booked for obscenity. The criminal court in Andhra Pradesh passed the orders on a petition filed by advocate SK Azad, who claimed the posters and hoardings of the film caused harm to society. The judge asked the police to book Vidya under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and under Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.
Don 2: The producers of the original “Don” claim that the Farhan Akhtar-directed sequel infringed upon the original copyright. According to the producers, they had only given Farhan and Ritesh Sidhwani’s production house rights to remake their movie. And since they weren’t given the rights to make a sequel, the producers of the original sent them a legal notice and are suing them for copyright infringement.
Compiled by Richa Bhatia

Pranab Mukherjee pleads for a Lokpal Bill, reflecting views in Parliament

New Delhi, Tue, 27 Dec 2011 ANI

New Delhi, Dec 27 (ANI): Asserting that the government is not insensitive to the needs of the Members of Parliament and of the outside forces, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said the legislation on the Lokpal Bill must be done on the floor of the House.

 Participating in a debate on the Lokpal Bill inside the Lok Sabha today, Mukherjee said: “The debate has been lively.

Various points have been covered. The government has not moved in undue haste. For last six months, we are debating this issue inside the House. Country is agitating and debating this issue outside the House. They are the decision-makers, not suggestion-givers.”

“There is nothing wrong in dialogue with civil society, but I also don’t agree when they say it should be only their view. Contradictory positions taken by political parties. We received mandate from all-party meeting. Not under duress, not under threat. We wanted to have effective strong anti-corruption legislation in form of Lokpal Bill,” he added.

 Accusing the political parties of taking contradictory stand on the Lokpal Bill issue, Mukherjee said: “Nothing has come from magician’s hat. Everything was discussed.
 The government received mandate at all-party meeting. Quota was also brought up.
 The government draft is based on daylong discussion in Parliament.”
 “But again it is called sarkari Lokpal. Because of five members in selection panel – who will include PM and Speaker. We talk of sovereignty of House, but then we raise questions about this,” he added.
 Further taking on senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha, Mukherjee said: “On August 27, we agreed on this through Sense of the House. You say federal structure will be compromised. But we are going to bring amendment to provide that without consent of state government, it will not be enacted. 40 years we have waited. I did not expect Yashwant Sinha to say this (PM) is a farewell speech.”
 “Why are you in a hurry? Why don’t you wait for two years more? PM is not giving farewell speech. PM has introduced new direction in parliamentary democracy. He suggested engaging with civil society,” he added.
 BJP leader Yashwant Sinha had earlier criticised Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan’s speech made inside the Lok Sabha, and said that the former’s speech seemed like an exit speech.

Participating in a debate on the Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha today, Sinha said: “The way the Prime Minister listed his government’s achievements seemed like an exit speech. The government wants to shove this bill down our throats. Why? You have deliberately created a weak and helpless Lokpal.”

 Yashwant Sinha further accused the government of deliberately creating a weak and helpless Lokpal.

“A morally bankrupt government has brought not a Lokpal Bill but a ‘Brokepal’ Bill. What this government has put us through with its scandals -that is why an old man is on a fast in Mumbai. The honest PM heads the most corrupt government India has ever had. This is why people are restless and desperate for change,” said Sinha.

 “Prevention of Corruption Act covers everyone from peon to PM; so does Indian Penal Code. These two laws are what the Lokpal will enforce, isn’t it? Not one minister from Atalji’s Government is in any jail. Minority reservation – you (UPA Government) have introduced this, you know it will not stick,” he added. (ANI)
Black money in polls: EC writes to political parties
27 December 2011
Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI, 27 DEC: In order to curb the use of black money during Assembly polls in five states, the Election Commission has written to all political parties asking them to avoid cash transactions and instruct their cadres not to carry huge cash during elections.
The Commission, in this context, has written a letter to all recognised political parties in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur, enlisting the steps it has undertaken to “curb use of money power during elections”.
“In order to maintain the purity of elections and in particular to bring transparency in the process of elections, it is advised that political parties avoid transactions in cash and should instruct their office bearers, officials, agents and candidates not to carry huge cash during the ensuing process of elections,” the EC wrote in its 26 December letter.
The Commission has advised candidates to open separate bank accounts for their election expenses and to make all election expenses through the said bank accounts.
The EC has also issued fresh directions to the chiefs of Income Tax (Investigation) department in all these states to “keep vigil over” financial brokers and hawala agents including keeping track on illegal movement of cash at airports and through other transit locations.
“…instances are reported to Commission and also in media that cash, liquor and several utility items are being used in a clandestine manner during the process of elections for bringing influence on voters.
“Such distribution of cash, liquor or any other item for gratification of the voters is bribery and is punishable under the Indian Penal Code and is also a corrupt practice under the Representation of People Act,” the Commission said in its letter.
The EC also asked all the parties to ensure that any fund provided by the party to its candidates for election purpose should be reflected in the day-to-day account of election expenditure of the candidate.
“The Commission has also advised candidates to open separate bank accounts for their election expenses and to make all election expenses through the said bank accounts. The parties are also required to maintain and lodge the accounts before the Commission after the election is over,” the EC said.
The EC had recently announced a seven-phased poll in Uttar Pradesh between 4 and 28 February, while Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa will be held in a single-phase.
Punjab and Uttarakhand will go to polls on 30 January, while they will be held on 28 January in Manipur and on 3 March in Goa. The counting of votes in all the states will be held on 4 March.

Moscow courts had dismissed Gita cases

Mona Mehta, TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 04.13AM IST
Tomorrow at 12:30 hours IST, Tomsk court, Russia, is due to pass its verdict on banning the Bhagavad Gita. An “anti-cult” group affiliated to the Russian Orthodox Church, has called for a ban on the Gita terming it an ‘extremist’ text. And the verdict can have far reaching repercussions – either way.

An expert panel was constituted to examine if the text incites religious hatred and humiliation.

“Banning the Gita as an extremist piece of literature would mean banning the Russian chapter of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness – one of the biggest Hindu organizations in Russia with a following of around 40,000, of which nearly 1,000 people visit the temple in Moscow every day,” said Swami Bhakti Vigyan (nee Vadim Touneev), scientist by training and head of ISKCON, Russia, currently in Delhi.

This is not the first time that the Bhagavad Gita has been involved in a court case. “There were two others in a Moscow court, but Moscow being more cosmopolitan, these cases were dismissed. This one time, they have gone ahead and pressed charges and it has come to court for hearing in Tomsk,” said Swami Bhakti Vigyan.

So what is so objectionable about the Bhagavad Gita – the text or commentary by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada? “Contrary to what the Russian government’s spokesperson has to say, what the court is objecting to is not Prabhupada’s commentary but the Bhagavad Gita itself,” Swami says, who helped translate the text into Russian. “I have been involved with the translation of the Gita, especially its third edition, released in 2007. All I did was to make a few stylistic changes. The rest of the book remains the same as it was in 1984 when the Gita was first distributed in Russia. We have given out more than 10 million copies since,” he adds.

A majority of the Russian population, 70 percent, would align themselves with the Russian Orthodox Christian Church, the religion prevalent in Russia before the Soviet rule, say experts, while 10 percent follow Islam. The rest are mostly atheists. “I do agree that there is a difference in the Christian and ISKCON conception of God, I understand the court has a problem with terms such as ‘demons’ for asuras and ‘fools’ for mudhas but Russians are philosophical by nature, with a high level of receptivity. They seek answers to what is the meaning of life after death and why we are born. Many Christians have told me that their understanding of the Bible has become deeper after reading the Gita,” said Swami Vigyan. “The contention is that we differ at a theological level, but a normal court is not the place to debate these differences. The core teachings of both Christianity and ISKCON are the same – love thy neighbour, love God,” he added.

Cidco can’t cancel nod for plot use’

Swati Deshpande, TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 01.40AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court recently held that the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd. (Cidco) was not entitled to cancel permission it had granted earlier for the residential-cum-commercial development of a plot in Kharghar and the builders having acted on it.
A bench of Justices S A Bobde and V K Tahilramani quashed a March 2011 order passed by the vice-chairman and managing director, Cidco, revoking the “permission granted to the petitioners for change of user of Plot No. 1 in Sector 1, Kharghar, from commercial to commercial- cum-residential and directing restoration of the user of the plot for commercial purposes.”
Shree Ambica Developers who had been allotted the 1.3 acre land at Rs 40 crore in a 2009 bid had filed a petition before the HC to challenge the revocation order. The land was allotted for commercial use and Ambica had sought permission to develop it for residential use as well. Cidco granted the permission with certain conditions in February 2010. The developer began construction of residential flats and entered into various sale agreements. In September 2010, Cidco issued a stop-work notice to Ambica and in March 2011 cancelled the dual use and restored permission for commercial use alone. Cidco counsel V A Thorat argued that permission granted earlier was “illegal” and “the Cidco vice-chairman had no authority to permit dual land use”. He said the restoration for its original commercial use alone was “in larger public interest.”
Developer’s counsel J P Cama said the land agreement specifically gave sole discretion to Cidco to permit, on payment of development fees and additional premium, residential construction also.
The HC held Cidco’s argument could not be accepted as in August 2009 the general development control regulations for Navi Mumbai were amended to specifically permit a change in land use.
“The power was clearly contemplated in the bid document and there is thus no merit in the contention that Cidco officials were prohibited from granting such permission,” the high courtsaid. Cidco had also argued that a “subordinate officer” could not authorize any change but the a bemused high court said, “It is not possible to accept the description of the VC and MD of Cidco as a subordinate officer.”
The high court said, “Cidco’s stand that its earlier action was illegal is not tenable.” since there was a provision for permitting change of user and that Cidco is not entitled to invoke public interest particularly after the petitioners had invested large sum of monies in the project.”
The HC rejected a plea made by the state government and Cidco for a stay of the judgment. “We see no reason to stay this judgment,” the judges said.

HC seeks GO copy on cops shoe prices

HYDERABAD: In another case, the division bench directed petitioner A Pavan Kumar to file a copy of the GO pertaining to price fixation for purchase of shoes for the state’s police personnel. The case was adjourned to March 5, 2012.The petitioner sought a direction from the bench to the authorities for not initiating action against senior IPS officer Umesh Kumar for his alleged involvement in irregularities in purchase of logistics and provisions to policemen when he was the additional directorgeneral of police (provisions and logistics). The vigilance and enforcement authorities had probed the matter, he said.The chief justice directed the petitioner to submit copies of the relevant GO, audit and vigilance reports.

Gujarat HC notice to state govt, AMC over demolition on private land

Published: Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011, 19:05 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The Gujarat high court on Monday issued notices to the state government, AMC and the civic body officials on a petition filed by trustee of Jan Utkarsh Trust seeking compensation for demolition on the private land near riverfront without any prior notice.
The petition filed by Dipak Babaria, trustee of the trust, alleged that AMC officials had demolished construction on the private land in addition to demolishing an illegal encroachment on the land for the riverfront project.
Babaria alleged that the property of survey number 3442 and 3344 near Khanpur belongs to minority community. Both the properties are owned by Wakf Trust namely Shahbazkhan and Kabrastan Trust. It was on these two properties that 18 families, who were affected due to the demolition drive, resided. He further alleged that these properties were not included in the development and there was no need demolishing it.
Alleging that no prior warning was given to these people, the petition also states that these 18 families were not listed in the list of project-affected families as they are not connected to the project. The families had made several representations to the AMC officials but to no avail.

Babaria also sought compensation for the residents apart from seeking action against officers responsible for the demolition.

Govt’s apathy to kids of prisoners angers HC

TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 01.03AM IST
HYDERABAD: Taking a serious view of the pathetic condition of children of prisoners, the AP High Court on Tuesday sought to know if the state government had any policy to take care of such children.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar expressed anguish over the absence of any state mechanism to take care of such ‘homeless’ children and sought a report from the women and child welfare secretary as to what facilities would be provided to such kids. It also directed the department to continuously monitor the welfare and upbringing of such children.
The court gave this ruling in connection with a case pertaining to four minor children who became ‘orphans’ after their parents were awarded life term in a murder case in 2005.
John Vikram and wife Sumalatha (names changed to protect the privacy of the children) of Musheerabad in Hyderabad, who have two boys and two girls, were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2005. After the parents were jailed, the children started staying with their grandmother. Some time later, she died and the four children became orphans.
They along with another minor girl, who also became an orphan following the death of her mother, went to Secunderabad railway station, got into a train and landed in Guntur. Later, they landed in an ashram there. The elder sister, who was doing a short-term beautician course, went missing in February 2010. Their father wrote a letter to the court from jail urging the CJ to ensure the welfare of his children. The matter then went to police who launched a search operation for the kids.
Meanwhile, their mother was set free on remission in August 2010 and following her petition, the HC sought a status report on the matter. According to K Janakiram Reddy, the counsel for the home department, the children were brought from the ashram in Guntur and police were trying to trace the girl.
The HC directed the authorities to hand over the three children to their mother, while their friend (the minor girl) was handed over to her maternal uncle. The court also directed the authorities to make it mandatory for all ashrams and destitute homes in the state to notify the nearest police stations about the arrival of kids.
HC sets aside seniority, promotion of 57 DySPs


Jammu, Dec 27: Jammu and Kashmir High Court today set aside “respective promotion” of 57 Deputy Superintendents of Police (DySPs) – direct recruits – and directed the state government to fix their fresh date of promotion.
The directions were issued by Justice Hasnain Massodi of Jammu & Kashmir High Court, Jammu Wing in two petitions filed Anita Sharma and Shakti Pathak challenging the fixation of seniority of the direct appointed DySPs.
The court, while allowing the petitions, set-aside the Government orders dated September, 2008 and April, 2010-to the extent it gives retrospective promotions to the  private respondents with effect from February 6, 1997 and the consequent benefits with effect from the dates shown in the Orders – and the Government Order No. Home – 508 (P) 2010 dated April 29, 2010 – whereby final seniority of Superintendents of Police is fixed, to the extent it relates to the parties to the petitions.
Court further directed official respondents to under take a fresh exercise to fix the date of promotion of the private respondents as Deputy Superintendents of Police, in compliance of writ Court Judgment dated November 29, 2004, upheld by Supreme Court on December 5, 2007, after giving a fair and adequate opportunity to the parties to project their stance.
“The official respondents shall embark on such an exercise on January 9, 2012. The parties to the petition shall project their stance by January 25, 2012 and State respondents, shall, having regard to the stand projected, on examination of documents, if any, produced by the parties take a decision in the matter by February 9, 2012”, the court held.
“The parties shall continue to have the status as on date till February 9, 2012, i.e. the date the state respondents are to take final decision in the matter and till then further promotions/induction in Indian Police Service on the basis of the impugned seniority list, shall not be effected,” the court observed.
Petitioners and private respondents in the petitions are members of Jammu and Kashmir Police (Gazetted) Service. The dispute involved in the petitions related to inter se seniority of the petitioners and private respondents. The petitioners were the direct recruits, whereas the private respondents have risen from the ranks.

Government chalks out strategy to resolve Indu Mills row

Sandeep Ashar | Dec 28, 2011, 02.49AM IST

MUMBAI: Facing criticism from court over its handling of the agitation surrounding Indu Mills in Prabhadevi, which was encroached upon by supporters of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, the state government is working out a strategy to resolve the dispute.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Tuesday discussed the matter with senior ministers and home department officials.
Followers of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar have demanded the release of the 12.5-acre mill land, which is in possession of the National Textile Corporation (NTC), for a memorial of their leader. On December 6, supporters of Republican Sena, led by Ambedkar’s grandson Anandraj Ambedkar, forcibly occupied the mill premises.
The NTC approached the HC following the state’s failure to act against the “encroachers”. A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice Anoop Mehta rapped the government for its inaction. On December 22, the state informed the court that it had persuaded the squatters inside Indu Mills to vacate within a week and if they did not, they would be evicted forcibly.
it was decided to engage with various factions of Ambedkar supporters. The government has decided to persuade Republican Sena to withdraw its people from the mill land. At the same time, it will also interact with leaders of other groups representing Ambedkar supporters like Ramdas Athavale and Prakash Ambedkar, among others, to ensure that there is no repeat of the incident.
A section of ministers’ present for the meeting feared backlash from Ambedkar supporters in the event of forcible eviction.
It was decided that a delegation comprising leaders from the ruling parties and RPI factions will meet the Prime Minister to press for the land’s release. The state government has demanded released of land free of cost for setting up the memorial.
On Thursday, Chavan also exhibited willingness of paying cost to purchase the mill land.
All leading political parties in the state have endorsed the release of land for the memorial. The issue has become a political hot cake in the run up to civic elections in Mumbai, which are scheduled for February next year.

PIL against Anna Hazare’s fast dismissed, high court says citizens have right to protest

PTI Dec 27, 2011, 09.18PM IST
 (A division bench comprising Justice Rammohan Reddy and Justice Venugopal Rao in its order also observed that there was no public interest in the petition against Anna Hazare’s agitation.)
BANGALORE: Karnataka High Court today dismissed a PIL petition seeking directions to restrain social activist Anna Hazare’s three-day fast and ‘Jail Bharo’ stir over Lokpal Bill, observing that the citizens had the right to protest.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Rammohan Reddy and Justice Venugopal Rao in its order also observed that there was no public interest in the petition.

The petition was filed by advocate A V Amanath, contending that the fast and jail bharo programme were “illegal and unconstitutional”.
He had alleged the protest amounted to ‘a criminal conspiracy and offence against public tranquillity.’
Meanwhile, some members of India Against Corruption (IAC) commenced a fast at the Freedom Park to express solidarity with Hazare who is on the three-day protest in Mumbai demanding a stronger Lokpal Bill.
Freedom fighter and Gandhian H S Doraiswamy Iyengar was among others who are taking part in the fast here.

Petition dismissed by High Court

Jammu, Dec 27: In a significant decision, Jammu and Kashmir High Court Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking concessions for the Schedule Tribes (ST) – regarding residential status in a district or division for applying in district cadre or division cadre government vacancies – at par with the Schedule Cast category in the state.
The Court while rejecting the contentions of the petitioners – J&K Tribal United Forum and Others – observed that it was part of the constitutional obligation of the state to take extra measures for the Scheduled Caste (SC) category as regards its representation in district cadre and divisional cadre posts.
“Section 13 (Clause 3) of the Act and Rule 13 (Sub-Rule 5) of the rules, are nothing but an effort on part of the legislature and the rule making authority to discharge its constitutional obligations towards SC category”, the court held.
The aforesaid provisions, therefore, are not in conflict with Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India but carry out the constitutional mandate embodied in the preamble of the Constitution that makes the state duty bound to secure to all its citizens justice in all manifestations – social, economic and political and equality of status and of opportunity and also in Articles 15, Clause 1, 16(4), 46 and 335 of the Constitution of India, it held further.
In the judgment delivered by Justice Hasnain Massodi, the court further observed that it is pertinent to point out that even if, the petitioners’ plea is accepted and Section-13, Clause-3 of the Act, and Rule-13 sub rule-5 of the Rules, held unconstitutional, the petitioners are not to get any benefit. “District and divisional cadre posts earmarked for SC category, left unfilled due to non-response from the category because of its near zero population in some districts/Kashmir division are to be de-reserved without any change in ST category share”.
The petitioners were aggrieved that concessions extended to the members of SC category in the shape of relaxation of the conditions as regards permanent residence of district or division for applying to District Cadre/Divisional Cadre posts has not been extended to the members of ST category in the state.
The petition insisted that because of relaxation for restrictions as regards permanent residence in the concerned district or division in favour of SC category, the official respondents have “indulged in naked discrimination.”
The petitioners’ grievance was that while respondents have picked up SC category for preferential treatment, same treatment has not been given to ST category, notwithstanding the fact that both SC and ST categories are identified as Reserved Categories by the Constitution of India and stand on equal footing.
However, the court after hearing both the sides, observed that the state after making a survey of the population of SCs in different districts of the State found that there is no SC population in four of the districts – Anantnag, Pulwama, Baramulla and Kupwara – and there is 0.10% or less SC population in four districts – Srinagar, Budgam, Leh and Kargil.
Therefore, in all the districts of Kashmir Division, SC population is less than 0.5% on an average as against 8% of the District and Divisional Cadre posts reserved for the category, the court observed adding resultantly, the posts in District and Divisional Cadre reserved for SC category go un-responded and unfilled, making it necessary for the recruitment agencies to revert the posts to the General Category.
The end result is that the level of representation of SC category in the public employment does not show any significant upward swing, the court held while observing that SC population being primarily concentrated in Jammu, Kathua and Udhampur districts, a good number of candidates from these districts compete for 8% posts set apart for the category and most of them are not selected because of imbalance between the posts available and the number of aspirants.
“The result is that the unemployed SC candidates remain unemployed leading to a sense of frustration and disappointment. The SC population, thus, continues to be caught in disempowerment and chill penury.  Same is not true about ST population,” the court observed.
ST population is spread across the state, has its presence in every district and in Leh and Kargil districts, it observed further adding that the category represents 82% and 88% of the population in these districts.  In none of the districts of the State, its population is less than 2.3%.  The ST candidates, thus, are available in every district of the State and none of the posts advertised and earmarked for ST category is left unfilled to be reverted to General Category.
“The bases for such classification are dispersal of their population in different districts of the State and inability of Scheduled Caste Category candidates to fill up the posts earmarked for the category in District Cadres and Divisional Cadres because of their almost zero presence in eleven of the twenty two districts of the State”, it observed.

HC clean chit to IAS officer in land-grabbing case

TNN | Dec 28, 2011, 05.02AM IST
AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Tuesday gave clean chit to the IAS officers including the CEO of Gujarat Urban Development Company Ltd, K Srinivas in the case of allegation of grabbing prime land near Gandhinagar by forging revenue records.
Finding the allegations wrong, the court imposed the cost on the petitioner, one Ghanshyamsinh Vaghela of Pindarda village, for land measurement exercise.
Vaghela filed a PIL in 2009 claiming that Srinivas and other officials conspired to grab part of a 92 hectare plot near Allooa village, which was leased out to the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL) for the purpose of afforestation. He claimed that Srinivas forged maps, plans and revenue records by changing survey number of the land and thereby showing that the land is not located on the Sabarmati riverbank.
On Vaghela’s accusations that one Allooa Non-Trading Organisation Association Built Club and senior government officers got sprawling bungalows built over the government land, HC ordered the District Inspector of Land Records (DILR) to measure land. It showed that no encroachment on huge level as alleged was made. However, some superstructure was put on by the Allooa Hills Resort.
Vaghela expressed doubts over correctness of measurement on the ground that high level officers are interested in the case, so independent agency should be asked to conduct measurement. HC roped in the additional surveyor general of central government, settlement commissioner and a representative of SSNNL. The committee measured the land again. But before that, HC made the petitioner to deposit Rs 3.20 lakh towards cost of measurement, in case his allegations are proved wrong. Accordingly, he paid the amount.
Finally after two surveys, HC concluded that the record of DILR and district collector showed same chronology of revenue records, and the land purchased by the IAS officers was a private land.
Under such circumstances, HC refused to direct CBI or CID to undertake inquiry in this case, and decided towards making Vaghela pay another Rs 1 lakh towards cost, as total measurement expenditure was Rs 4.44 lakh. However, the two surveys revealed that the eight hectare land of SSNNL has been encroached upon by the association. Since, some of his allegations were found to be true, the court limited the amount of fine to Rs 3.20 lakh only.
Besides, HC asked SSNNL to make the association vacate the land and directed the state government also to clear the encroachment made by Allooa Hills Resort within three months. HC suspends its order for six weeks and permitted Vaghela to move the Supreme Court.

Allow my girl to come home’

Posted On Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 03:59:38 AM
The mother of the 16-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by former encounter specialist Arun Borude and other accused, has written to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC)to hand over her daughter and her 15-month-old child to them. The victim had given birth to a girl on October 19, 2010.

She was later shifted to a CWC home in Andheri and is currently at a Mankhurd home. However, according to her family members, she is tired of staying there and wants to return to her mother.

She has requested the authorities a number of times that she be allowed to go home, but no decision was taken as she is a minor, and the case is going on in the court. Now her mother has written to the CWC to hand over her daughter or she will harm herself.

According to her mother, she has met her daughter a number of times, and every time she cries asking to be taken home.

“She tells me that she will harm herself and may even kill herself. So I wrote to the CWC to hand over her and her kid to us,” the victim’s mother said.

Sunil Kajrolkar, a social activist who has been aiding the victim’s family, said, “The girl has been crying and asking to get back to her mother’s place. She says that she will die at the home or even harm herself.

“The case is being heard at a Session’s court and the girl will be handed over to the family only after she is a major. But we have requested that she be allowed to go home as she needs her mother.”

Repeated attempts to contact CWC officials did not yield results.

The case

Borude, a former encounter specialist, was charged with raping a 15-year-old girl from Powai at his flat, in November last year.

Borude, who was then attached to LT Marg police station, went into hiding soon after the matter came to light.

He was then dismissed from service. His body was found near a railway track in Ahmednagar a month later.

There were two more men arrested in the case and a woman who had allegedly taken the victim to the accused.

Lokpal vote: Sonia wants list of absent MPs

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 14:48
New Delhi: After the embarrassment in Lok Sabha, an angry Congress President Sonia Gandhi today sought the list of party MPs who remained absent during voting on Constitution Amendment Bill on Lokpal amid moves to issue show cause notices to them.

Sources said party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, who had floated the idea of granting constitutional status to Lokpal, is also furious after the bill failed to get through in the Lok Sabha yesterday because of want of requisite numbers.

According to preliminary details, 16 MPs of the UPA were absent.

Of them, six Congress MPs are from Gujarat, including Union Minister Dinsha Patel who was at home in connection with the marriage of his granddaughter.

Among others who were said to be absent were K Sudhakaran (Kerala), Hamdullah Sayeed (Lakshadweep), K Raj Gopal Reddy (Andhra Pradesh) and M Rajamohan Reddy.

– Reddy is a supporter of YSR Congress leader Jaganmohan Reddy and has already submitted his resignation to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.

Three MPs of DMK and two of Trinamool Congress were also absent.

The sources said Sonia Gandhi was angry and has tasked party MPs Girija Vyas and Sandeep Dikshit to prepare the list and find out the reasons for the absence.

A show cause notice would be issued to the absentee MPs, they said.

With regard to action against the absentee MPs of allies, the sources said it was for the leadership of respective parties to decide.


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